In the realm of education, we often find ourselves in the existential debate surrounding homework. Traditionally viewed as a fundamental aspect of learning, homework has come under scrutiny for its potential to perpetuate inequality within our classrooms. While its intentions may be noble, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the practice of assigning homework can inadvertently exacerbate disparities among students, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds. Today, I invite you to join me in an exploration of why homework can be discriminatory and how we can foster a more inclusive approach to learning.

It’s no secret that those who benefit most from homework are often students hailing from privileged backgrounds. Their parents, equipped with the knowledge, resources and time, are readily available to offer support and guidance. However, for students whose families may not have the resources or understanding to assist with homework, the playing field is far from level. This reality underscores a systemic issue that extends beyond the classroom walls and into the fabric of our society.

Moreover, the one-size-fits-all nature of homework fails to account for the diverse learning needs of individual students. What may prove beneficial for one learner could pose significant challenges for another. Homework, in its conventional form, lacks the personalisation necessary to accommodate these varying needs, thereby widening the gap between students of differing abilities and backgrounds.

On top of this, completing homework demands a myriad of executive function skills, including task initiation, organisation, and time management. While some students may naturally excel in these areas, others may struggle intensely, facing barriers that hinder their academic success. It’s imperative that we recognise these obstacles and work towards dismantling them, rather than perpetuating them through the assignment of one-size-fits-all homework.

So, what can we do?

How to make homework more inclusive and equitable for all students

1. Teach executive function skills

Instead of assuming that all students possess the necessary executive function skills to complete homework independently, dedicate time to teach and scaffold these skills explicitly within the classroom. Provide strategies and resources to help students improve their task initiation, organisation, and time management abilities.

2. Personalise homework assignments

Tailor homework assignments to align with the unique learning needs and abilities of individual students. Offer choices and alternative methods for demonstrating understanding, allowing students to showcase their strengths in diverse ways.

3. Consider the home environment

Acknowledge the diverse realities of students’ home environments and the varying levels of support they may receive outside of the classroom. Avoid assigning homework that relies on any parental involvement or ensure alternative resources for students who may not have access to support at home.

4. Embrace flexibility

Recognise that students lead multifaceted lives outside of school, and their ability to complete homework may be influenced by various factors beyond their control. Embrace flexibility in deadlines and provide accommodations when necessary, ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.

5. Avoid punishment and get curious instead

When a child doesn’t complete their homework, do not punish them. Rather, sit down with them and have a conversation with them just as you would with a colleague who was struggling with their workload. Help them to identify what barriers they face in homework completion and support them in finding strategies which work for them to overcome these barriers over time.


By adopting these approaches, we can work towards redefining homework as a tool for fostering equity and inclusion within our classrooms. Let us commit ourselves to creating learning environments where every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances. Together, we can pave the way for a more compassionate and equitable education system — one where homework serves as a catalyst for learning, rather than a barrier to success.

Join me on the 30th of April at 4.30pm, BST for a CPD accredited webinar:


Why is homework so hard? Executive function perspectives and solutions


I will dive into the relationship between executive functions and its impact on students’ ability to complete and submit homework. Gain practical insights and strategies to support students in overcoming homework challenges, from understanding the cognitive processes involved to implementing tailored techniques in school.

Limited space available. Reserve your spot now! 


Discounts available for students – please email to apply. 


A note from the author:

“I am a teacher and mother of a neurodivergent family.  Some days it all feels too much, but time and again I remind myself to turn to our proven strategies and it makes everything more doable.


I have dedicated my life to our world changing work. It’s such a privilege to have you on this journey with us.”


– Victoria Bagnall,

CiM Co-Founder & Managing Director